Burning Flags Press The website of Glen E. Friedman. Renowned for both his work with musicians like Fugazi, Minor Threat, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, Slayer (and many, many more) as well as his groundbreaking documentation of the burgeoning skateboard phenomenon in the late `70's, Glen has been privvy to (and has summarily captured on film) some of the coolest stuff ever. He's also an incredibly insightful and nice guy to boot.
SoHo Blues - Photography by Allan Tannenbaum Allan Tannenbaum is a local photographer who has been everywhere and shot everything, from members of Blondie hanging out at the Mudd Club through the collapsing towers of the World Trade Center on September 11th. You could spend hours on this site, and I have.
Robert Otter Photographs Amazing vintage photographs of New York City, specifically my own neighborhood, Greenwich Village.
oboylephoto Just some intensely cool photographs of abandoned places.
The Weblog of Spumco's John K. The weblog of cartoonist John Kricfalusi, crazed mind and frantic pencil behind the original "Ren & Stimpy," as well as "The Goddamn George Liquor Show." Surreal, unapologetic, uncompromising genius.
In a moment of candor she invariably now regrets, a colleague of mine sheepishly admitted this afternoon that she owns and wears a Misfits t-shirt. Why is this significant? Well, not only is she not a fan of the band, she couldn’t even get their name right (she referred to them, I believe, as The Misshapes). Being that she knows full well that this is the just the type of thing that sends me off into anirrational, planet-engulfing rage, I initially figured she was just yankin’ my chain. And then she provided photographic evidence. :::sigh::::
Just so she and everyone else is clear, THIS is The Misfits. Pay attention. There’ll be a quiz later.
I spotted these recently and thought of my fellow tinnitus-sufferers and folks with compromised hearing. The funny thing is, I bet they actually work -- despite the sizable cost to one's dignity that wearing them would inarguably accrue. Check'em out here.
I first chanced upon an early incarnation of the mighty Life In a Blender back in the 80s, during the very un-rock-n'-roll proceedings of the annual Museum Mile festival on Manhattan's Upper East Side. With endearing incongruity, the band plugged in and set up just steps away from the iconic Engineer's Gate on 90th Street, to play their then-fledgling brand of surrealist garage pop to the neighborhood's corduroy-clad affluents. By the time they'd careened through "Dogs Know How To Do It," I knew I'd found something special.
Over the next several years, I watched the band, led by ringleader/vocalist/songwriter/primary puppet-master Don Ralph, graduate from such humble beginnings to grace the stages of long-since vanished Manhattan venues like The Marquee, McGovern's, Fez and, of course, CBGB. Through the course of six studio albums, Life in a Blender has honed its approach from prop-laden nyuck-nyuck rock into a brand of sophisticated pop that, while still firmly rooted left of center, is surprisingly rich in its depth and wit.
Where the band's previous effort, 2007's The Heart is a Small Balloon was comparatively nuanced with supple strings and at points poignant and introspective, Homewrecker Spoon finds Life in a Blender straining at the leash. Rife with brash brass and clangy guitars, the album bursts out of the gate at full sprint with "Go To Man," a frenetic spin on Joe Jackson's "I'm The Man" that wobbles in signature style between the silly and the sinister. Though steeped as ever in Don Ralph's absurdist lyrical sensibility, for every strange turn like "The Rain Makes Me Thirsty" (a tortured ode to lustful ombrophilia with a nod to a classic Yvonne Elliman disco hymn) or the disquietingly bizarre "Hoot Owl," there comes "Summer Goes Too Fast," a perfectly realized slice of shimmering pop genius.
Twenty-five years after their inception, it's heartening to know that while Life in a Blender might have matured in its ability mesh skewed, colorful narratives with lovingly-crafted three-minute morsels of curious pop, they're still deeply, deeply silly.
I may have overestimated the appetite for this type of thing since posting the first quiz, its spotty answers and the accompanyingaddendum. Personally speaking, I love this type of trivial nonsense, but maybe not everyone does. In any case, here's another round of photographs. As before, I'm issuing the challenge to (A) name the personages involved, (B) the exact location depicted and (C) the photographer or filmmaker responsible for the image.
As you may remember, the first quiz was a bit of a mixed bag. In some instances, I didn't even know all the correct answers myself, and one picture (that of the Dictators) probably wasn't even shot in Manhattan. With this bunch, I assure you -- they're all from here in New York, New York. Let's see who can pinpoint the details. Some are ridiculously easy, while others are a bit more far-flung. They'll start off simple and get progressively more difficult as they go.
Think you're up for it? Give it a shot.
...and for this last one, you'll get a bonus point if you can name where a lovingly framed print of the picture can be glimpsed by the public.
For the most part, I like the posts I put up here to be thematically linked or at least significant in some way to the greater arc of the weblog. But every now and then, I simply stumble on something in my travels around the `Net that begs representation here if only because I think it's awesome. These are two such items.
The first is the below picture of Glenn Danzig paying his respects to Elvis. I found it here, and I think it's ridiculously cool.
The second is a video I found on MSN's Headbang blog (maintained by the estimable Phil Freeman). Here's Phil's preamble.
Here's a very different video. The story: Back on April 10, Dennis Diaz and Annette Ortiz were married in California. Annette has been a member of several bands, and she and her husband were part of an all-Asian Metallica tribute band called Trapped Under Rice. (I'm not making that up; it comes from this link.) So naturally, what else is she gonna want to do on her wedding day but play "Master of Puppets" on the drums? And quite well, too. (Skip forward to about the one-minute mark to check it out.) Congratulations to them.
The Kid Creole & the Coconuts image was taken at the entrance of 251 West 30th St. between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, and is looking east from Eighth Ave. Check out this Google streetview.
You’ll notice the distinctive buildings above the parked car in the right-hand side of the shot which correspond to the same (unchanged) buildings behind the open moving truck in the Google Streetview. Kid Creole and the Coconuts are standing not at the corner of Eighth, but rather mid-block, in front of the music club now called Rebel at 251 W. 30th St. which has a distinct, deeply recessed, angled entrance. Rebel was once known as Downtime in the early 1990’s. Check out this Google streetview, unfortunately obscured by scaffolding.
There is a clear shot of the building’s distinct, deeply recessed, angled entrance on the Forgotten NY Website –it’s the ground floor of the Recording and Rehearsal Arts Building (251-255 W. 30th St) recognizable by the G Clef above the door)
I couldn’t tell you the name of the club it was before Downtime (or even if there was a club there). Since it’s a building with music studios, it could explain their presence there.
So, dutifully, I walked over there recently, and sure enough, that's the building. I'm kinda disappointed in myself, actually, as I'd actually been to Downtime back in the late 90's to see a solo show by erstwhile Wonder Stuff frontman, Miles Hunt. In any case, below is a shot of how it looks today. In trying to replicate the Kid Creole shot, however, I was unable to convince anyone around to take my picture. Upon asking passers-by or folks smoking out front who clearly worked inside the building, I was only met by disinterested, suspicious stares and pointedly bad vibes when I asked if they'd oblige me. Oh well.
As an extra little bonus for this post, I exhumed this below video by Kid Creole & the Coconuts from the mid-80's. As an added bit of NYC-trainspottery, it's fun to note that most of the video for "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy" was filmed at the then-abandoned East River Bandshell. You can read more about that location here on EV Grieve's site.
When I invoke 1985 here (which is pretty frequently), I generally do so with a patina of giddy, rose-tinted nostalgia. It was a pretty momentous time for me. I started the year off as a high school senior and ended it as a college freshman. New York City was still a vast, colorful playground of underground record shops, wild clubs and live music venues, and many of my favorite bands were just hitting their respective strides. I was young and living in an exciting place while so much was going on. Here in the present day, had I access to Mr. Peabody and Sherman's Wayback Machine, 1985 might regularly be my target destination.
But as groovy and happenin' as I may have considered 1985 to be, there was, of course, a whole generation before me for whom the year represented the end of all things. I may have been discovering a whole new crop of bands, scenes, places and things to do, but for these folks, the cool, significant stuff had already happened and things were now in decline. Had there been an internet to waste time on in 1985, many of these folks would have logged their laments about same on blogs. But since there wasn't, they took to public access cable television, the veritable blogosphere of its day.
The gent below is one Stephen Saban, a founding editor of Details (from way back when it was actually a cool magazine). In this fleeting clip from -- wait for it -- 1985, Saban exhumes a laundry list of storied New York City clubs that had long-since closed by that point. He does so with much the same reverence of place and resigned world-weariness that myself and some of my fellow bloggers express in similarly-inclined missives today ... although Saban probably has a few more bona fide credentials to back up his hipness.
So yeah, no matter how cool you think your particular, youthful, happening New York City heyday might have been, there's always somebody older than you to point out how you were too late and missed the genuinely neat-o stuff. You can either be depressed by this or take some solace in it. It's evidently all relative and cyclical. But, enjoy this trip back in time...